cookie butter-cream cheese NY style crumb cake

Every year on January 10 I ask the husband what kind of cake he wants for his birthday tomorrow.
And every year, like clockwork he responds with "crumb cake".
What kind of crumb cake I ask.
He says "ahh, it don't matter"
Sometimes I hate being married to a non-foodie.
The answer I'm expecting is:
"Oh I would love a kicked up devils food cake with toasted marshmallow frosting, crunchy honey nut-peanut butter filling....all with dark chocolate-caramel ganache and freshly whipped cream!"
Good answer indeed.
So I ask him if I can kick up the crumb cake with something new and fun, yet totally flavorful?
He says, "you won't make it savory will you?"
Of course my mind goes "ohhh what a great idea!"  LOL
I respond, like I do every year, with 'no, it will tastes great--you love it every year and never complain'.
And there is where the idea of cookie butter in the crumb cake came in.
Hubby hasn't a clue what cookie butter is--he thinks its just peanut butter anywho.
Did he love it?
Yes he did.
Did he know it was cookie butter?
But he knew there was cream cheese in there.
Progress for a non-foodie.....

We will put down rows of cream cheese, then cookie butter, swirl the two a bit, then fill in the gaps with crumbs!
Swirl or not.  It's up to you.
Fill in the gaps with crumbs.
Make sure there are crumbs on all gaps!
Looks good enough to eat raw doesn't it?
Mmmm, can you see the perfect ratio of cream cheese to cookie butter to crumb?
So, yeah, this would be the ultimate indulgence in NY style crumb cake.

cookie butter-cream cheese crumb cake

¼ cup canola oil, plus more for pan  
½ stick unsalted butter, melted.
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan  
½ cup + 2 TB granulated white sugar  
1 ts baking powder  
½ ts coarse salt  
1 large egg  
½ cup + 2 TB half & half   
2 ts pure vanilla extract  

Crumb Topping:
1 cup flour
1 cus packed light brown sugar
¾ ts coarse salt
½ TB ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted & cooled

For the crumb topping:
In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, pour melted butter over mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Set aside.

cream cheese mixture
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1 large egg yolk
4 ts white sugar

For the cream cheese mixture:
Mix all in a bowl (really well) until ready to use. Set aside.

For the cookie butter:
½ - ¾ cup cookie butter

Cook Notes:
The crumb topping makes a lot.  If you don’t like a lot of crumb on your cake, then half it. 
The cake dough is sticky and thick; so it will be hard to spread into pan.  I use patience and wet fingers to spread the dough.  Make sure to get all the corners.
Also, the cake when baked is thin.  This is a NY style cake, which means more toppings than cake.
The cake cooks up quick because the batter is thin.  Please check at the 20 minute mark.
Looks for light golden edges.  It will be hard to tell if this is done because of all the cream cheese and crumbs.  But I’ve found after baking this several times that 20-23 minutes is really all it needs.

For cake:
Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 350°.
Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and dust with flour, and tap to remove excess. (I’ve also used the Pam with Flour and it worked just fine). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together 2 ¼ cups flour, add in the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, butter, half & half, canola oil, and vanilla.

Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture.  

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside. (to keep batter from sticking to your hand or spoon, just wet or oil your fingers or a spoon and spread evenly throughout pan). 

The batter should be about half an inch high.  It will cook/rise to an inch thick.
Next put on the cream cheese mixture; I did this in vertical lines in the pan.
And on the other sides of the cream cheese lines I added in a line of cookie butter. 
If you want to pipe the cream cheese mixture on that’s fine.  I just used my hands.
If you want slight swirls, take a chopstick and gently swirl the opposite of the lines.
Next add on the crumbs.
I added the crumbs in the areas where there were no cream cheese lines or cookie butter lines (see photo).
Then transfer pan to oven, and bake for 12 minutes, rotate pan. Then cook another 10- 12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Check cake at 20-23 minute mark for sure. 
Let cake cook completely before slicing.
Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares.
Store in an airtight container for up to two-three days.   


  1. I'm a huge fan of unconventional birthday cakes! this one sounds amazing. Your husband must have loved it!!

  2. I'd take this for my birthday cake anyway! Looks so yummy!

  3. You have outdid yourself - each element is better than the next (cream cheese, crumble topping, cookie butter!) YES! I love this one, Dawn!

  4. You always have such great spins on classic desserts. Anything with cookie butter is great in my book. It's so pretty too with the crumbs and the unobstructed swirl!

  5. My husband is kind of boring in the foodie dept, too. Every year for his birthday he just wants plain cheesecake with canned cherry pie filling. Sigh!
    This coffee cake looks divine!

  6. Melinda Stewart1/13/13, 10:11 PM

    I laughed so hard when I read your birthday cake story. My husband is a duplicate, except it it Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Frosting. I am a foodie with a degree in Hotel Restaurant Management, a pastry chef for many years, and a die hard food lover. My husband eats no vegetables, only watermelon in the fruit world, and no nuts. Hates pork. Kind of likes steak. No fish, ever. We have been very happily married for 32 years. Love conquers all! Trying your cake this weekend, it looks fabulous.

  7. Your husband sounds a LOT like my brother who always wants vanilla cupcakes for his birthday. What is THAT about?!?

    You definitely kicked up this crumb cake though. YUM.

  8. I can't tell you how happy this recipe makes me! You posted a picture on FB yesterday and I've been checking the blog frequently since then to see when the recipe will be posted! I am making this ASAP!! :)

  9. Those bars look so good! Is it wrong that I want one for breakfast right now?

  10. Please please please come down here and bake these for me. I am on strike

  11. LOVE your crumb cakes! (Perfect crumb to cake ratio.) I have yet to meet cookie butter but I think I'm already in love. :D

  12. My husband thinks that all cakes should be devoid of frosting. :-(

  13. oh man... that looks absolutely incredible!! especially since it's a whole lotta crumb and little cake (my favorite!). plus cream cheese and cookie butter? i wouldn't be able to say no :)

  14. there are all kinds of sinful ingredients in this, and that makes me quite giddy. terrific creation, dawn!

  15. Wait.
    You're married to a non-foodie?!
    Wow, it MUST be love then!

  16. That cookie butter-cream cheese crumb cake looks absolutely stunning!

  17. I've been tempted to buy some cookie butter, but wasn't sure it would actually make it into anything I might bake... you know how the spoon just finds it's way into the jar and all... but, this coffee cake might be the recipe that will make me buy a jar! Yum!

  18. Ma'am, you are Totally the Queen of the Crumb Cake! You've taken a rather humble dessert and you just keep elevating it to new heights! Smartest. :) <3

  19. Never heard of cookie butter?? Where do I buy it?

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Hate to sound so uninformed...what is cookie butter?

    1. Oh Fran you simply must try it!
      It's ground up cinnamon cookies, ground up into a paste/butter like consistency.
      So good.


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